Monday, August 27, 2012

The MANY faces of Spiderman

Jaren is a character!
This is my FAVORITE!
Spiderman Ripped Pants...
Kilroy was here...


 Easter 2012 

We had a little get together the Saturday before Easter for an egg hunt and potluck.  There was a great turnout, but man was it cold! The kids played some games while the parents hid the eggs around the park. 

Later that night we decorated some hard boiled Easter eggs.  Randy and Lydia came over as well as the McNamaras.  Jaren drew a Darth Vader egg which turned out light purplish blue.  We also did our tie dye eggs with rubber bands.  That is always a favorite!

Easter Sunday

Finny taking a ride in a barbie car!
Jaren and cousin Kaylee.

Kaylee and Danny.  I love her feathery hair!
Ed's brother, Danny, his wife, Jamie and their kids, Kaylee and Carson.  I wish we would have gotten a nice pic of our family, but no such luck.  I think everyone had already changed out of their nice clothes.
Jare Bear
Kaylee and Eden
Bleading Hearts
Oliver's grave after dark.  We had decorated it with a few Easter and Spring things.

Springtime at the Arboretum

Collage of all the gorgeous flowers we saw.
Eden near the entrance of the arboretum.
A lot of the beds weren't planted yet as it was too early in the season.
At the entrance to the Children's Garden.
Eden was a good sport.  It was a pretty sunny day for a photo shoot!  :O)

Thursday, August 23, 2012

APRIL 17, 2012 Character Counts Dinner

March 29, 2012

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa --- Tickets are on sale for the 2012 Cedar Valley Character Counts awards dinner April 17 at the Five Sullivan Brothers Event Center.  This year's awardees include Hellman Associates Inc., business organization of character; Jim Coloff, owner and general manager of 93.5 The Mix and founder of Magical Mix Kids, adult citizen of character; the late Oliver Palmer, 10-year-old Waterloo boy who recently died from a brain tumor, youth citizen of character; Danielle Meyer, seventh-grade teacher at Hoover Middle School, educator of character; Kaitlyn Trampel, senior student-athlete at Cedar Falls High School, pursuing victory with honor awardee; and Lowell Elementary School, school of character.  Keynote speaker will be University of Northern Iowa defensive tackle Ben Boothby, who plans to attend medical school when he completes his UNI education in May. He recently was one of two recipients of the 11th annual Division I Football Championship Subdivision Athletics Directors Association Scholar-Athletes of the Year.  The social begins at 5:30 p.m., followed by a dinner buffet and the awards program.

We were informed that someone had nominated Oliver for the Youth Citizen award and I honestly couldn't think of a better kid to receive it... even if he had already passed on.  It was a wonderful way to remember him and honor him for being a kid of character, which I think he always was, even until the end.  He would always put others in front of himself, whenever he wasn't feeling good he wouldn't complain because he wouldn't want us to worry.  He stuck up for kids being bullied, even though he was the shortest one in stature in the class.  He was always responsible and obedient and would do what I asked whenever I asked him.  He was always very sincere in his prayers even from a young age and was wise beyond his years.  He was an old soul in a little body.  He was very spiritually in tune and always wanted to do what was right.  He always wanted to do things for our neighbors and friends and would always be the first one to plan a surprise party for someone just because he wanted them to feel loved and feel special.  I think all around he was the best example of someone always trying to be the best he could be.  I will NEVER forget his example...

We were so happy to have Oliver's best friends join us for the evening.  I know they got a little teary eyed.  They really miss Oliver so much.  I just love these boys like they are my own.  I recently stumbled across a quote that was so fitting, "A good friend of my son's is a son to me."   

Eden and my mom.
Some kids from Lowell Elementary school got an award for helping the environment.  They even published a book!
Nick and Takoda holding Ollie's award.

Ed, Eden and myself.  Behind us is the Mission statement and the 6 pillars of character.

The 6 Pillars of Character


Be honest • Don’t deceive, cheat, or steal • Be reliable — do what you say you’ll do • Have the courage to do the right thing • Build a good reputation • Be loyal — stand by your family, friends, and country


Treat others with respect; follow the Golden Rule • Be tolerant and accepting of differences • Use good manners, not bad language • Be considerate of the feelings of others • Don’t threaten, hit or hurt anyone • Deal peacefully with anger, insults, and disagreements


Do what you are supposed to do • Plan ahead • Persevere: keep on trying! • Always do your best • Use self-control • Be self-disciplined • Think before you act — consider the consequences • Be accountable for your words, actions, and attitudes • Set a good example for others


Play by the rules • Take turns and share • Be open-minded; listen to others • Don’t take advantage of others • Don’t blame others carelessly • Treat all people fairly


Be kind • Be compassionate and show you care • Express gratitude • Forgive others • Help people in need


Do your share to make your school and community better • Cooperate • Get involved in community affairs • Stay informed; vote • Be a good neighbor • Obey laws and rules • Respect authority • Protect the environment • Volunteer

Since Oliver was nominated and won in our community, he was nominated for the Iowa Character Awards and received an Honorable Mention.

Fool's 5K

Ed ran the Fool's 5K in honor of April Fool's Day.  This was his first 5K after losing 140 lbs. and he ran it in a little over 30 minutes!  He was in the category of 'Clydesdales' which is the category of men weighing 200 lbs. and over and he did GREAT!  I was so proud of him.  He told me that he is dedicating all of his 5K's to Oliver and even wore his 'Team Ollie' t-shirt.  There was a prize for the craziest costumes so Ed dressed up of course and found some sweet shorts to show off his pasty white legs, but no awards for him.  Let me tell you... it was FREEZING that morning!  There were around 1,000 people signed up for the race which was the most they've had for this race.  Seriously... I was so proud of him...

Ed and I before the race.
I loved all of the costumes!
Lining up for the race to start.
Going over the rules.
This was the man that came in first.  I saw him at the beginning of the race and thought... "I bet that guy wins."  Yeah... I was right!  He came up from Des Moines to run.
Love it!
After the race... pooped!
Checking his time.
Ed and Kara, a friend from church.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

APRIL 2012

APRIL 2012

Bleeding hearts - very fitting for how much my heart misses Oliver.

My mom's cat, Celeste.  Oliver got to go to the humane society and help to pick her out at the end of last year.  She is the sweetest little cat!
My mom's cat, Max.  Oliver named him since we can't have cats at our house I thought it would be a way for him to feel like he has a pet.  My friend and I saved him from the side of an interstate on ramp when he was a tiny kitten - September 2010.  Unfortunately his little orange tiger striped sibling ran and hid from us.  I always think of that one whenever I get on the highway now.

All American Bowl (Stars vs. Stripes)
Our friend, Matt, was chosen to play in the All American Bowl this year where football players are chosen from around the country to play.  They played in Cedar Falls at the UNI dome which is in the next town over from us so we thought we'd go and cheer him on!  He dedicated this game to Oliver.

JUNE 2010 - Matt and Oliver.  Oliver was the very first Kid Captain for the Des Moines Blaze football team.  I love Ollie's smile!  He loved it!
Matt's team won!  Stars 54 Stripes 14
Matt and his two cute kids down on the field after the game!

Cousin Lydia's 5th Birthday!

Lydia and Jaren.  They are only about 2 months apart in age and are in the same Primary class at church.
Our nephew, Carson, who is about 3 months older than Finny.
Our niece, Kaylee, who turned one the following June.  She is Carson's little sister.
Lydia and her daddy, Randy.  Randy is Ed's younger brother.
Finny watching Lydia opening presents.  The surfboard shirt was actually Oliver's when he was 18 - 24 months old.  :O)
The birthday girl!
Eden and her cousin, Lydia.

 We were flipping through channels one day and I stopped on our local public television station where The Phantom of the Opera was playing -- the actual stage version at the Royal Albert Hall for the 25th Anniversary.  We watched it for a little bit and then I turned the channel thinking that the kids were bored with it.  Jaren freaked out and told me to turn it back to the monster guy!  For the next few days he'd ask me to watch 'The family of the opera'!  I found it on iTunes and bought it so we could watch the whole thing!  He still asks to watch it months later and is now singing the songs from the play and movie.  I found this white mask for like a buck on clearance at Hobby Lobby and I couldn't resist!  I knew he'd LOVE it and he did!!!
Jaren as The Phantom of the Opera.
Eden looked so cute and Springy in her school uniform so I had to take a picture!
I got this in a fortune cookie and started to tear up thinking about Oliver and how real I think it is...
I actually did Eden's hair for once and it turned out really cute!  I didn't bugger it up like I usually do!
Jaren and Eden -- Sweet...
Jaren and Eden -- Sassy...
This kid LOVES to layer his clothing and LOVES wearing shirts that are two or three sizes too small!
Love this kid's cheesy grin!